Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sometimes We Just Need a Lap to Sit On

This is my sweet cat, Bandit.
My cat is not a typical cat. Most cats are very independent and only interact with people on their terms. Bandit is what my friend refers to as a Dog-Cat. He's fairly dependent on me. He loves to sit on my lap. He will even come when I call him--most of the time. He will sometimes play fetch.

However, Bandit does have this one quirk. There are times when he will come near me and look longingly, searching for an opportunity to sit on my lap. My lap may already have a book, magazine, or computer in it. Or I might not be sitting "just the right way" so that he has room to jump up. So he sits there and looks at me. I catch his eye and invite him to come. Sometimes he will come. Still other times Bandit will just continue to sit there waiting for me to do something. I then put down my other distractions and reach for him. I want to pick him up and put him on my lap. I want him to know that he's welcome. As soon as I reach for him, he begins to struggle and back away. I get frustrated because I know what he wants. Sometimes I will just let him go and do his own thing. Once in a while I will hold onto him through the struggle and gently put him on my lap, soothing him with my voice. He immediately relaxes on my lap and enjoys what he has really been wanting and needing. He is content now.

This very scene happened to me this morning. As it was happening, it occurred to me how similar this scenario is between God and His people. We want God to do something, to intervene on our behalf. We want to be safe in His arms. Yet, when God does intervene, we begin to struggle against Him. It may be we struggle because we don't recognize that it's God's hand picking us up. For whatever reason we struggle, God may allow us the freedom to continue in the present place, leaving us there. Or, He may hang in there and pull us up into His arms, knowing that is what we need and what's best for us at the moment.

When we are asking God for something, we need to also pay attention to what's going on around us. We need to recognize that God may be answering our prayer in the midst of that struggle. The answer to our prayer may not look exactly like we'd imagined so it may not seem like an answer to prayer at that very moment. But, if we stop struggling long enough to ask God about it, we may find our answer.

Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’?
It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”

Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. 
Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.
The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.  
The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? 
Tell the Israelites to move on.   
Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water
so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.
~Exodus 14:12-16

The Israelites felt that struggle too. They asked for deliverance. Then when times got tough, they struggled against the very hand that was trying to deliver them. The Lord told them to BE STILL. The Lord was planning to fight for them. The Lord made a path for them when their backs were against the proverbial wall, right through the Red Sea.


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